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Instagram Weekly Guest #22

jn

We were happy to chat with a great @Instagram user @jn, or else Joerg Nicht from Berlin, on his passion about photography and what drives him to capture life through his unique creativity. Time to learn more about him!.

Tell us about yourself, where you grew up and what you do?

I grew up in East Germany, near the boarder to Poland. Today I work as a social scientist in Berlin.

What kind of photography do you do?

I predominantly shoot street photography, ass well as documenting life in Berlin, I also travel frequently. My work is inspired by classic street photography, especially by from Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank.

When did you start to derive an interest in photography? What was the first photo you took?

I have been photographing since the age of 12. When I turned 16 I was given a simple SLR, and this was the start of me taking more and more pictures. It was important that at the time I was also developing the films myself. Since that time I have always been photographing. The first photo I took was a picture of my cat. So I understand all people whoa take pictures of their animals.

How did you learn about Instagram? Give us 3 things you’ve learned since you joined Instagram?

I heard about Instagram through a friend shortly after the App was launched. Before that we would show our pictures via other platforms.

Through Instragram I learned a lot about what kind of photos people like, what kind of cities obviously fascinate many users and what tourists like about Berlin. I also learnt to reduce the message of a photo in such a way that it can be viewed well on a small screen with little time. And I also learned that stories can be told with pictures over a longer period of time.

How did you find your inspiration?

I observe my surroundings and I like to look at photos of other photographers.

You are known as iPhone photographer. Do you also use other cameras?

Yes, in the last year I used a Lumix GH4 and actually a Lumix CM1.

You are defined as a street photographer, capturing the impression of the city in motion. What is so interesting about it?

I like to spend time in the street and at crossroads, watching what’s going on. I’m interested in the ways cities function, the traffic, the city as a public space and market place. That’s why I’m interested in street photography.

What are the photos to you?

Many of my photos are observations of daily life. In that sense they are a kind of diary.

You have numbers of valuable followers on Instagram. Does it affect you in real life? Does Instagram open you a wider opportunity to channeling your creative work?

Instagram definitely gives me a wider opportunity. But the number of followers is an abstract figure. What counts is the feedback which I get for my photos. That is why I take critical comments very serious.

Do you think creativity matters and why?

Creativity is not everything, this goes especially for Instagram. It helps to have an idea, for example to post a photo of a car on Sunday, but that is not sufficient. It also needs technical knowledge (expertise?) to turn the idea into a photo which will look good on Instagram. Such a photo should not be overloaded.

Can you give us tips for grabbing the perfect shots for Instagram?

Use symmetries, use lines (like tram tracks) and have a look at the composition.

I’ve seen on your Instagram some of your shots involving people in the frame. Assuming that some of them are probably strangers, do you find it difficult to take a picture of them?

Most of the strangers in my pictures are not recognizable. nicht erkennbar. I like to observe strangers and for me mostly it is not difficult to take pictures of strangers.

What application do you use to edit your photo? Do you always try to maintain your tone on your feed? If yes, why is it important?

Mostly I use Snapseed to editing the photos. Now I use the Instagram filter too for a special mood. There are so many photos on Instagram, therefore it is important to be recognizable.

Is it important to have technical skill in photography to be globally recognized on Instagram?

It is important to have a photographic language. That means you need a theme, which still interests you after a thousand pictures and of which you can constantly produce variations. But without editing one will not get far. Many very successful accounts feed their stream with very artificial heavily edited photos. In that sense one needs technical knowledge to do the editing, not necessarily photographic knowledge.

Do you have any advice to say to starting photographers out there?

Take lots of photos, that will help you find a theme and keep posting on Instragram. It is also important to build networks with other Instagrammers.

Any parting words?

Taking photos with a smartphone has opened completely new opportunities. These are much greater than one tends to think.

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